Drinking a beverage that is sugar-sweetened such as soda on a daily basis might lead to more fat gain in the abdomen, according to a just-published study.
Visceral fat as it is called is in the midsection, wraps around the body s internal organs such as the pancreas and liver and affects hormones such as insulin.
Insulin dysfunction and resistance to insulin are closely linked to type 2 diabetes as well as risk of heart attack.
Many prior studies looked at obesity and beverages that are sugar-sweetened, said the study s author, this one looked at the distribution of body fat and in particular over a period of time.
Researchers found that each of the participants tended to increase their amount of visceral fat over time. However, those who ingested sugary beverages each day gained more.
Data was used by the researchers from close to 1,000 adults in Massachusetts, who answered questions on food frequency related to drinking beverages that were sugar-sweetened and diet sodas.
Sugar-sweetened drinks such as fruit punch and regular soda have added high fructose corn syrup or sucrose.
The majority of participants said they drank a variety of different sugary drinks as well as diet soda.
About one-third of the participants said they did not drink any sugar-sweetened beverages, 20% did only occasionally, 35% drank the sugar-sweetened beverages frequently and 13% drank them each day.
At the start of the study, the participants received a tomography scan to measure volume and quantity of abdominal fat. They took another scan six year afterwards.
Over the six-year period, the volume of visceral fat increased over 658 cubic centimeters for the non-drinkers and 852 cubic centimeters for those who drank sugary beverages.
For those who drink daily it was equal to 1.8 pounds of abdominal fat.
Diets soda was not linked to visceral fat increase.
One hundred calories of added sugar per day is recommended by the American Heart Association for women and 150 for men.